Thursday, 18 August 2011

Spotlight on our handsome Humboldts after the moult!


Our colony of Humboldt Penguins are looking dapper and dashing again after their annual moult!  Every summer, over a period of a few weeks in mid summer, the Penguins lose all their feathers - this is known as a catastrophic moult and is a natural occurrence in the wild as well as in captivity.

As many of our visitors will know, during the moult the Penguins look extremely scruffy …. not only that, but they tend to spend most of their time on land rather than in the water.  This is an instinctive reaction when they lose feathers and are not fully waterproof.  During these few weeks we ensure that those in our colony not fishing in the pool are fed on land – by being tossed a few scrumptious sprats each day.   Our “Keeper for a Day” and “Junior Wildlife Experience” participants have really enjoyed this opportunity for close-up feeding time with Dippy and all his pals.


DSC_0056 Fat & fluffy mid moult (resized) JB DSC_0050

Above: fat, fluffy and rather frumpy in their tatty creamy brown plumage the images above show a few of our Penguins in the midst of their annual moult.


New feathers after moult August 2011 (cropped & resized) DSC_1908 Dippy after moulting (resized) Aug 11 DSC_1925

Immediately above: Wow look at us now!  Only a few weeks later - these images, taken yesterday, show the colony back to their handsome best!  Dippy (right) is looking particularly proud and pleased with his fresh new debonair look!

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